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Indiana University Bloomington

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$15 million gift to Kelley School will create scholarship program for underrepresented minorities

Nov 11, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A $15 million gift from an alumnus of Indiana University's Kelley School of Business will provide for a new, life-changing undergraduate scholarship program for financially challenged students from underrepresented areas of society. 

William Fry

William Fry

The scholarship program, made possible through the generous support of Kelley alumnus William R. Fry of Carmel, Ind., will help the Kelley School pursue a major initiative toward increased inclusiveness. As with the Bloomington campus, the school has set ambitious objectives for increased faculty hiring and enrollment of underrepresented minorities. 

"All of us at Indiana University are deeply appreciative of this gift, which will have far-reaching effects for generations to come," said IU President Michael A. McRobbie. "This gift will create scholarships that will make it possible for many promising students from financially limited families to attend one of the nation's premier business schools. This is a tremendous opportunity for these deserving students." 

Dan Smith, dean of the Kelley School, added, "At the Kelley School, we have long embraced diversity in all of its forms. While all aspects of diversity matter to us, Mr. Fry's support provides us with the cornerstone of a holistic approach to creating opportunities for underrepresented minority students and improving the inclusiveness of the Kelley School. "

If you are fortunate, a few times during the history of a school, a special friend comes along who provides you with the means to change the lives of many students and in the process, fundamentally changes the way you are able to compete in the marketplace. Mr. Fry is one such special friend, and his generosity will elevate the stature of the Kelley School forever," Smith said. 

Initially, Fry's gift will create between five and 10 scholarships, but once the program is in full force, it will support at least 80 students. The university is providing support for the Fry Scholars Program through funds from its Matching the Promise campaign. 

Fry, a native of Winamac, Ind., has made a number of significant contributions to improve life in his various communities, but he especially likes the impact that his Kelley School gift will have on young minds, and also that it will spark success among people from financially challenged environments. 

He said simply that he hopes his gift will help students who "have the drive and the intelligence, but have not had the opportunity." 

"I'm oriented toward trying to make the world a better place," Fry said.

"Mr. Fry's gift represents a tremendous boost to our institutional-wide efforts to expand opportunities for increasing access and persistence of underrepresented minority students," said Edwin C. Marshall, IU vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs. "The scholarships that his gift will generate will extend and support the education of many students who otherwise might not be able to attend IU, while at the same time allowing the Kelley School to compete on a level playing field with the top business schools in the country.

"To be fully competitive in today's and tomorrow's environments, IU and the Kelley School must be able to attract and educate a student body that reflects the diverse culture of our global society. Mr. Fry's generosity will help make this a reality," Marshall added.

"We are deeply grateful for Mr. Fry's vision and support," added Karen Hanson, IU Bloomington provost and executive vice president. "This gift to enhance the diversity of our student body will help us achieve a campus priority, combining excellence and equity, and we will thus be better able to serve all our students, our state and our nation. This is a transformative gift for the Kelley School and for the Bloomington campus."

Malik McCluskey, director of the Office of Diversity Initiatives at the Kelley School, added, "The Office of Diversity Initiatives, as well as the undergraduate program more generally, is very appreciative of this generous gift. Improving the access of students of color to one of the premier business programs is a top priority at Kelley. With this gift, the Kelley School takes a critical step forward in its goal of creating a diverse, inclusive and affirming environment for students of all backgrounds."

Most of the more than 440 companies that recruited and hired Kelley School graduates last year are recognizing the shifts in the demographics of their customers. According to Census Bureau projections, between 2010 and 2050 the white non-Hispanic population will grow by 18 million people, while the populations of African-Americans will grow by 25 million, that of Asian Americans by 27 million, and that of Latino Americans by 63 million.

"Companies that recruit our students are witnessing a shift in the demographics of their customers and recognize that they need employees who have a deep understanding of these customer groups," Smith said. "These firms look to the Kelley School to provide them with the talent profile necessary to be competitive. If we want to remain the school of choice for the best companies in the world, we must improve the diversity of our student body.

"Competition for strong students from historically underrepresented groups is intense," he added. "Given options among multiple highly ranked business schools, it is not uncommon to find that students often are influenced by the availability of financial support for their education. In the past, we have had limited resources that we could use in this way."

Smith said the Kelley School also is pursuing private support for hiring more faculty members from underrepresented populations and to support initiatives that will improve the inclusiveness of its student culture.

While at IU, Fry was elected president of his senior class in 1958 and also of his Sigma Chi fraternity. He was active in ROTC and numerous other campus activities. After serving five years in the U.S. Army, he joined American Fletcher National Bank. After a five-year stint as a stockbroker with Merrill Lynch, Fry returned to AFNB where he remained until 1983 and ultimately became senior vice president and chief investment officer of its trust department.

After AFNB, Fry started an investment management firm, Progressive United Corp., in Indianapolis. Seven years later, he began a successful career in radio. He eventually owned five stations in Shreveport, La., which he sold in 1999. Since then, he has focused on managing his other investments.

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